tagSci-Fi & FantasyNature's Beasts Ch. 01

Nature's Beasts Ch. 01


Nature's Beasts

Chapter 01: Finding a New World

"Yo, J, you ready for this?"

"Yeah, man! I can't wait to bag a ten-point!"

That would be me. Jason Arimea, athletics enthusiast. Well, I love all athletics, but bow hunting and archery are my favorites. I can shoot any kind of bow, be it recurve, composite, or cross-bow. I collect just about any bow and arrow that I can find. My pride bow and arrow combination for hunting is a Matthews Stealth XLT crossbow and Easton Full Metal Jacket 22" bolts. The crossbow is top of the line, and with a scope and the FMJ bolts on it, no woodland critter can escape my aim! Recurve bows are my favorite bows to target shoot, however, and are a whole different animal from the other types. A recurve bow is the simple kind of bow, just wood and string, basically, and requires the most strength to pull back and shoot. That's the simplified version, but I love the feel of the power in the string when I'm pulling it back and knowing that when I let it loose it's all my arm power, not cables and other items helping me.

Anyways, the guy I was speaking to was Taylor Adams, my best friend and fellow hunting partner. He preferred guns, however, collecting all manner of shotguns, rifles, pistols, and even a few semi-automatic sub-machine guns. His house, which I had been in many times for parties and just to chill out, looked like an arms dealers shipping point! He had three gun cases in his living room with six shotguns each, and a safe in his basement with twenty-two pistols, nine rifles, two sub-machines, and at least five thousand rounds of ammunition for all of the weapons. His hunting weapon and ammunition of choice is a brand-new Remington Model R-15 450 Bushmaster with Remington Accutip 450 Bushmaster .45 caliber 260-grain bullets. With a top-notch scope in place, I've seen him take a polar bear in Alaska down with one shot from three-quarters of a mile out. He's won multiple target shooting and skeet shooting competitions, and he uses the prize money from them to but his weaponry and ammo.

Taylor and I are the best of friends. We grew up together through elementary school and middle school, graduating from Dillon High School in 2009. We both enrolled in college at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. We had 3.8 GPA's throughout high school, but got in Clemson on full-ride scholarships to play football. I play first cornerback due to my higher jumping and catching skills and Taylor plays second cornerback, his strengths being him being stronger and able to hit harder. The first season, both of us made first team All-American players. Out of fourteen games in the first season last year, Taylor had five interceptions and 49 tackles, unheard of for a cornerback. I had thirteen interceptions, 22 tackles, and dominated the kick return department with three touchdown returns and a return average of 35.4 yards.

Due to our success in the football season, Taylor and I had much success in the relationships department as well. However, we've always had success there. I am 6'2", 185 pounds, all lean, cut muscle. I have long blonde hair that falls softly into my eyes, barely hits my neck, and covers my ears. Girls have always commented that my hair was the best part of my face, but the rest of me isn't bad either. I have a soft jawline and high cheekbones, and piercing green eyes. All the muscle on my body is cut, not bulky, due to my excellent eating habits that don't come easy to me. Many times, I have to sit and watch while my buddies chow down on the weekly Krispy Kreme run. This, however, has helped me to develop the eight-pack that I enjoy today.

Taylor's looks garner him some female attention as well. He's quite different from me, being 6'6" and 260 pounds. He has a perpetual buzz haircut and keeps a couple days' worth of growth on his face. He has a strong jaw and chin, and has had numerous people comment on how he looks like he could definitely star in the next superhero movie. His body isn't cut like mine, but he could definitely take me in a fight due to the bulk that he has. Still, plenty of girls go for the jock football superstar type.

Right now, Taylor and I are at the end of our summer breaks, and trying to get the last hunting run in before heading back to school this weekend. Our favorite spot to hunt is in some of the numerous woods in our hometown, as far back as we can get. It's not exactly legal to be hunting deer right now as we're doing, since there are still a couple months left before hunting season. That's never stopped us before, though, and we've never been caught. Both of us are decked out in camouflage, as we move around and don't like to sit in deer stands all day waiting on one deer to come out. We stay a few hundred yards from each other and communicate through wireless headset walkie-talkies.

"Jason, I've got that six in sight and scoped up. Take it?" Taylor asked me. The "six" he was referring to was a six point buck that was drinking from a small creek in the woods.

"Boy, if you've got the shot, get him," I replied. I was on a trail of my own, this one a small baby deer. I love deer meat, with veal being the most tender and savory. Taylor hunts mostly for the bucks heads and hides, and has even made some clothes out of the skins. I picked the trail up again, this time heading in Taylor and the stream's direction. "I think mine's coming to you; so actually, give me a couple of minutes. If he moves though, take the shot."

"Straight up, bud. I'll keep an eye on this big bastard."

I stealthily moved forward and saw the baby deer nuzzling against its father.

"Taylor, you seeing this?" I asked him. I sure hadn't ever seen this before. I could take both out with one shot.

"Man, hell no. I could get both in the head."

"Same here," I replied. "Take the shot, son. Both in one, on the count of three."

We counted to three together silently and fired at the perfect exact same time. Both deer fell, dead on contact with the ground. I stood up from my crouched position and walked into the clearing.

"Well, I guess we'll never know who's got the best shot, man," Taylor said to me.

"Hell yeah, we will," I replied, smiling. We both joked with each other on every subject, most of the time getting into it and really insulting each other, but always in good humor. "Bitch, my arrow is connecting them. That's a fucking pro shot there."

"Yeah, okay," Travis replied, smiling as well. "I'll admit a crossbow is harder to fire. You win this round bud." We had a good laugh at this before hearing a car in the distance. We stopped and listened for a second before looking at each other with wide eyes. The only reason a vehicle would be back here in the woods is because a game warden heard the shot.

"No fucking way, man. I can't have any kind of fine like this on me," Taylor told me.

"Shit! I told you to get that silencer from the black market, but no, you were scared about getting caught," I replied. "Now look where we are!"

While we were arguing, the truck got closer. Then we heard a voice on a megaphone speaking.

"Put down the weapons, put your hands in the air, and come out peacefully."

As we were complying with the orders, we heard the truck shut off and a door slam. They were close enough now for us to hear them without their megaphone.

"What the hell?" the one previously on the megaphone said. "Ma'am, please put the-" In the middle of his sentence, I heard a gurgle and a wet sound. Then the other guy started screaming.

"Holy shit! What the fuck! What the fuck!" Then I heard his choking, and finally the sound of bones snapping. Finally, peaceful silence. I looked at Taylor and he made a motion to keep quiet. I didn't need any pushing there, so I just stayed as still as I could and hardly breathed. Without a sound, a figure came through the woods and into the clearing before us. It was a woman, or what appeared to be. She was extremely tall, at least 7 feet, and extremely muscular. She had an animal skin on that covered most of her body, from her neck to her feet. She had nothing on her head and thick skin-lined boots on her feet. She wielded a staff in one hand and had a wicked-looking short curved sword, sheathed on her hip. She pointed at both me and Taylor, and then motioned for us to follow her. I could barely start my legs, but somehow began walking, noticing that Taylor was right beside me.

"I think," Taylor whispered to me, "that we should do as she says." That was fine with me, and I just nodded to Taylor.

We followed the woman for a few hundred feet through the woods before coming to another clearing. She raised her staff, and began speaking in a foreign language that sounded like nothing I had heard before. It was very guttural, something that I would expect from a woman like her. After a few seconds she stopped speaking and kneeled down, then began speaking again. Right in front of her a dark purple line appeared, about ten feet in height. It opened up into a square roughly ten feet by ten feet. The woman then stood up, turned to us, and motioned for us to step into the, I guess, portal of some kind. Taylor stepped up to it first, shrugged his shoulders, and stepped in, disappearing instantly. The portal began quivering and the woman motioned again, more urgently this time, for me to step through. I did as she said, and instantly my vision became dark, just for a few seconds. When I could see again, I found myself standing on a wide open grass plain, with nothing but blue sky and green grass before me for miles. No portal was behind me, and Taylor was nowhere to be found, as neither was the woman. I had no clue what I was doing, but I saw a rise in the distance and decided that the high ground was the best place to start. If there was anything that hunting had taught me, it was how to survive in unknown, maybe even hostile, conditions.

When I had exited the portal, it was mid-day in the new place, and hot. It felt as though it was probably over a hundred degrees, but I had my water canteen still on me, along with my weapons. When I reached the top of the hill, the sun was down at a nearly 10-degree angle. I knew I would need to start a fire soon and bed down, but when I reached the top of the hill, I was astonished. At the bottom of the small valley in front of me, there was a village built. It was complete with straw and grass huts, contained fires everywhere, livestock and small farms scattered in different places. I pulled my crossbow out and looked through the scope to get a better handle on what was going on. What I saw made me sigh in frustration. There were people in different places doing different things such as feeding the animals, washing clothes, and sewing, but there were three parties of roughly fifteen strong-looking men walking around the camp in organized groups. It was as if they were expecting attacks from something. I knew that they weren't very likely to let me waltz into the camp. I stood and watched them, too fascinated to notice that the sun was dropping lower and lower with every minute.

Before I knew it, the sun was down and it was dark. It was apparently the new moon of the month as no moon was out. Thankfully, I hadn't skimped on the scope for my crossbow and flicked the night-vision switch on. After warming up for a couple of seconds, it came on and everything lit up green. After scouting the village once more, I heard a horn sound in the distance, off to the left of the camp. The men on patrol didn't like that at all. They all banded up together and rushed to the left and took up positions. I looked out farther and saw what was blowing the horn. There was what appeared to be a werewolf standing in the open, blowing the horn! I almost dropped my crossbow at the sight of this tall, muscular wolf blowing his horn. The sound had immediate effect, as right behind the wolf an army of werewolves emerged out of the woods. The clashed with the men, and I lost sight of what was happening. I scanned back to the right, past that edge of the camp. I noticed movement in the tall grass and increased the scope's focus. It was a flank attack on the villagers. The wolves on the flank side were moving slowly as not to be seen, and still a good ways off, so I had a decision to make.

Shit, I thought, go after the wolves or run the other way? I had never been one to run, and I didn't know anything about this land or the people. I had nowhere else to go, so I picked out the head werewolf of the flank pack and zeroed in on him. The readout on the scope let me know that I was 823 yards away, which takes an exceptionally placed shot for a crossbow. Thankfully, I had lots of long-distance practice. I led the wolf a little ways and let the first bolt fly, notching the second one in practically no time.

By the time the second bolt was notched, the first wolf had a bolt sticking through his head. After I took out the second, third, and fourth wolves, they began to notice me and started running full out towards me. They covered ground quickly, and by the time they had reached me and I had pulled out my knife, there were still four wolves left. The first one came on me and knocked me to the ground, taking my breath away.

Well, I thought, I guess it's time for those Judo classes to pay off. I rolled over and stabbed at the same time, getting in between the creature's ribs. It writhed in pain on the ground, bleeding out. One down, three left.

Two more came at me at the same time, but I ducked and they hit each other, teeth first. They showed no thought for what they were attacking, only bloodlust and rage, killing each other in the process of trying to find me. I guess that's one left. This one was big, though, and looked more intelligent in his eyes than the others. He stood up on hind legs and rushed me. I tried to block, but it was strong! He pushed me down and pinned my arms down with his forearms. He bent down and growled, baring his teeth. Those...are fucking huge, I thought. Crazy what goes through your mind when you're about to die. However, in the next instant, there was no head. Just a hammer the size of my entire torso in its place. The beast toppled over to my side, dead. I laid there, my arms shaking, and tried to clear my head. The man wielding the hammer stood in front of me, tall, and had the absolute biggest arms and chest I had ever seen in my life.

The hammer-man put his hand out to me, which I grabbed, and pulled me to my feet. He leaned his hammer against his thigh and clapped his hands on my shoulders. Then he just nodded his head and motioned for me to follow him.

The large man led me down the hill into the village. Everyone around looked frightened, but they all followed us into the center of the village where a large bonfire was going. Men were shoveling the corpses in left and right giving the air the smell of burnt flesh. The man stopped me, and then continued walking. When he stopped, he put his hand up, and the people around me immediately got quiet. This was a man with obvious power. He began speaking in the same guttural language that the woman had used, but these people looked much different from that woman, making me think that this was a different tribe. After saying a few words, he motioned for me to join him in the middle. He again put his large hands on my shoulders and started speaking again. All eyes were on me at this time.

The man spoke for a while. When I felt he was nearing the end of his speech, getting more passionate, I felt tears falling on my neck and head. I looked up at him and saw he was looking at a woman and two children in the audience and crying. I assumed this was his family. He then stopped abruptly and picked me up with one hand and placed me on top of his shoulders. He began speaking again, even more passionately than before, and then everyone stood up and began clapping. The all got to one knee and kept clapping and cheering. This continued for several minutes before the man dismissed them all and carried me to the largest hut in the village. He entered the door and placed me down on the mat at the front of the hut and motioned for me to have a seat on the nearby bed. He knew that I couldn't understand anything he said, but he seemed all right with that. He just went and lay down on another, smaller bed and motioned for me to do the same. I had to admit, I was worn out. I figured it was a combination of all the things that had happened to me, but once my head hit the soft, downy pillow, I fell fast asleep.

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